Wednesday, July 9, 2008

M. John Harrison

I just finished M. John Harrison's Light (2002)--that novel, as well as those of Gaiman, Egan, and other contemporary, SF authors, seems to revolve around the question of postmodernity in the quantum universe. That is to say, it combines contemporary cosmology with the vertiginous technologies that are ultimately construed as transformative of the human. And yet, like so much in sf, this isn't so much of a prediction as an ironic gloss on information technologies that, far from emancipating us from both corporeality and parochial indentity, seem to immobilize us both physically (with whole generations of Americans captive to the television) as well as mentally (the strong resurgence of knee-jerk ethnocentrism and know-nothing jingoism). If only our products could allow us to escape from our Newtonian world into a quantum universe! But--shopping's not going to lead us to the revolution, right?

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